When I learned that my very first sponsored child and her community were ‘graduating’ from World Vision’s sponsorship program, I was overjoyed.
I became Asana’s sponsor almost 10 years ago, and watched her grow into a young lady. Her community in Ghana had grown right alongside her – and now they were ready to tackle their future independently, without the support of child sponsors like me. A huge accomplishment!
With that chapter closed, I had made up my mind that I would not add any more sponsorships to the family fold. I would just continue sponsoring Andy, my other sponsored child, in El Salvador until his community became independent, like Asana’s.
So when I received my replacement sponsorship package in the mail, I was going to cancel it.
I shared this with my husband as he opened the package and pulled out the picture folder. Knowing me and my weakness for babies all too well, he held up the photo and said, “But look at who it is!” And with just one glance, Safira, with her cherub cheeks and pouty lips, took up residence on our fridge, and in my heart.
Safira (left) and my own little girl, Seraphina, right, are about the same age.
Safira, from Brazil, was exactly three months older than my own, now 17-month-old daughter, Seraphina.
A few months later I received my first letter from Safira’s family and learned that like Seraphina, Safira was teething and still nursing.
With each new similarity I discovered, it became more apparent that God had placed Safira in my life for a very distinct purpose.
A mother’s heartbreak
As I rocked Seraphina to sleep later that night, I imagined the anguish I would feel if I could not provide her with even the most basic things like clean water, food, shelter and health care.
I imagined what it would be like to listen to her cry herself to sleep because she was hungry – like so many moms do every day, and night, in the poorest places.
The thought made tears stream down my face.
“Here, let me help you.”
It doesn’t matter what country we live in. We all have the same dreams for our children. We want them to be healthy and happy, and we will do whatever it takes to help them achieve that.
By sponsoring a child, I believe that I am saying “here, let me help you,” to a mom who might be afraid for the future and what it means for her children. I am stretching out my hand toward her in support, so that she can treat her baby boy’s fever, or afford her daughter’s school books, or learn how to make nutritious meals for her family.
Because child sponsorship is not a hand out, it’s a hand up. World Vision’s programs help parents learn how to provide for their children’s well-being in culturally-friendly ways, and the impact lasts a lifetime.
Before I was a mom, being a child sponsor was really important to me. But now, it is especially important because it has a poignant significance. I hope that I am able to give moms around the world a helping hand for the rest of my life.
Why not sponsor a child who shares the same birthday or age as your child?
It’s a great way to create a lifelong connection, and an awesome conversation starter for your first letter!